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Blue Scholars, Rebecca Riots and others

Volcano music scribes tell you where to go

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Thursday, Nov. 1

COUNTRY the ginn sisters

Despite their celebrity status, I actually like the Dixie Chicks. Shocking, I know. The reason I dig them is they play in a neo-traditional style that incorporates progressive bluegrass and classic country. Akin to the Chicks, the Ginn Sisters are well-versed in the ways of Kitty Wells, but have the ability to appeal to a contemporary audience as well as hard-core traditionalist.

With Tiffani handling lead vocals while Brit adds substance to the twosome’s two-part harmonies, they sing as pretty as they look. And with more twang than you can shake a stick at. Tiffani picks a mean acoustic six-string while Brit adds playful flute and melodica to the mix.

Performing all Tiffani originals, the Austin, Texas, pair has released two critically-acclaimed discs. In 2003 they debuted strong with Generally Happy. The album was quiet and tender, and rarely included electricity or percussion. Three years later, the Sisters issued Blood Oranges, which was more adventurous than their first outing as they plugged in and added heavy drums. From the bluesy “Broken Promises” to the Zydeco-flavored “2 Cool 2 Cry,” the CD also featured a wider variety of musical styles. — Tony Engelhart

[Jazzbones, 7 p.m., all ages, $5, 2803 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.396.9169]

Friday, Nov. 2

HIP-HOP blue scholars

Perhaps the only underground crew to consistently draw a crowd in thug-love central, Seattle hip-hop duo Blue Scholars will bear the torch again Friday at Hell’s Kitchen.

If you don’t know, Blue Scholars are the Seattle crew that made waves a couple years back when they dropped a self-titled LP out of that city to the north. They have since ridden that wave to modest commercial success, delivering enough nice melodies and noggin nodders to gain a solid national following. Emcee Geologic drops plenty of politically-charged lyrics over raw beats produced by former ska drummer Sabzi.

In June 2006, Blue Scholars crewmembers joined forces with emcee RA Scion and Abyssinian Creole emcee Gabriel Teodros to launch Mass Line Media, a new, artist-run, independent label that is likely to produce some burners as it gets up to speed.

Also on deck is Tacoma prodigal son Can-U, who will showcase a new mix tape currently circulating. Can-U and DJ Reign present “Hear This” trumpets the artist’s continuing evolution, boasting new lyrical styles, tight cadence and Can-U’s continuing quest to push the boundaries of his art. The mix tape is intended to whet fans’ appetites for Can-U’s upcoming full-length, which will sport production Blue Scholar’s Geologic, and lyrics from emcess such as Ohmega Watts. Can-U says the album is an attempt to quiet people who say hip-hop doesn’t have anything new to offer.

“I’m trying to push the levels,” he says. — Paul Schrag

[Hell’s Kitchen, 6 p.m. (all ages) and 9 p.m. (21+), $10, 3829 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.759.6003]

Friday, Nov. 2

FOLK rebecca riots

I feel confident in my ability of tagging bands, and Rebecca Riots is definitely a folk unit. Not folk-pop, not folk-rock, but folk. In fact, the Berkeley, Calif., trio of Andrea Prichett, Lisa Zeiler, and Eve Decker are more folk than Joan Baez, Peter, Paul and Mary and the Weavers put together.

Self-described as “radical folk,” the band is socially conscious and politically astute, and aren’t afraid to voice their opinions on touchy topics. Since their inception, they have been not only penning tunes about pressing issues, but have been actively involved with such causes as Earth First to anti-racist work, and supporting those who can’t help themselves, i.e., the homeless and battered women.

Musically, they are relatively upbeat for being such avid activist. Employing acoustic guitar, mandolin, harmonica and lush three-part harmonies, it would be easy to get lost in the melodies and forget the messages, but don’t. Their original words are equally as important as the exquisite music they create.

To date, Rebecca Riots has released four studio albums and one live disc. Each of the four is highly personal for being a group effort. Eve and Andrea have both released solo efforts which are equally as compelling. — TE

[Traditions Café, 8 p.m., all ages, $8-$12, 300 Fifth Ave. S.W., Olympia, 360.705.2819]

Saturday, Nov. 3

JAZZ lavon hardison

Some people can sing, but can’t entertain. Some people can entertain, but can’t sing. It is always a pleasure to find an artist who can do both equally as well, and that was exactly what happened when I discovered Lavon Hardison.

The Olympia-based vocalist possesses a rich voice, which lends itself splendidly to every genre she attempts Not one to pigeonhole herself, Hardison is just as comfortable singing swing jazz as country and everything in between, as the classically trained vocalist takes her audiences on a musical journey every time she performs. Whether singing Ella Fitzgerald or Stevie Wonder, she updates each tune with a signature style that is completely her own.

Often working with veteran jazz pianist Joe Baque and guitarist Vince Brown from Hot Club Sandwich, she is a well respected jazz vocalist with an incredible range. Her first CD, Choices, featured such classics as “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “Perhaps” done in the original bosa nova style, but also revamped versions of “Superstition” and “Shop Around.” Her latest, Red & Ruby, again teams her up with Brown and for a rip roaring good time as the duo revisits the blues and jazz from 1930s and ‘40s. — TE

[Ben Moore Café and Bar, 9 p.m., all ages, no cover, 112 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia, 360.357.7527]

Saturday, Nov. 3

METAL Wide Eye Panic

It’s not often I get to say, “Hey, they’re a really good band from Lacey.”

In fact, it’s not often I get to say anything really good about Lacey.

Wide Eye Panic, however, are an exception to the rule.

Before you start thinking Widespread Panic, let me fill you in. Wide Eye Panic, from Lacey as I mentioned, are a coalition of metal loving dudes set on playing as loud and fast as possible, quite possibly burning something down along the way. They released their first full length album, Distorted View, in late summer ’05. They’re everything that Widespread Panic isn’t.

Aram Wheeler is Wide Eye Panic’s frontman.

“I guess I began singing because I couldn’t play an instrument,” says Wheeler, on the band’s Web site —

“I’ve always felt like a vocalist. I’ve always thought I could sing, so I’ve just stuck with it. Why start something new if you can sing?

“It couldn’t be Wide Eye Panic without me, but it’s definitely not all me. I don’t own Wide Eye Panic.”

Wide Eye Panic will play Hell’s Kitchen on Saturday, Nov. 3 along with Weight of the World, Negative 7, Mom’s Rocket, and Esitu. The show, along with being one of the weekend’s best bets, will be the official after-party for the Dockyard Derby Dames Championship Bout earlier in the day at the Tacoma Soccer Center. — Matt Driscoll

[Hell’s Kitchen, Saturday, Nov. 3, 8 p.m., $5, 3829 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.759.6003]

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